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Capital One axes over 1,000 tech roles

Tis the extended season for layoffs

The same day Google is allowing staffers to work from home while they process the news that it's firing 12,000 of them, fintech biz Capital One has cut over 1,000 roles in its Technology segment.

Capital One confirmed the job cuts to The Reg, telling us: "Decisions that affect our associates, especially those that involve role eliminations, are incredibly difficult... This announcement is not a reflection on these individuals or the work they have driven on behalf of our technology organization. Their contributions have been critical to maturing our software delivery model and our overall tech transformation."

Bloomberg first reported that roles were being shed.

The move comes just days before the expected release of Capital One's fourth quarter 2022 earnings results on January 24.

The consumer lending company told The Register that its plan was to eliminate its "Agile" job family and integrate staff there into "existing engineering and product manager roles."

A company spokesman told us:

The Agile role in our Tech organization was critical to our earlier transformation phases but as our organization matured, the natural next step is to integrate agile delivery processes directly into our core engineering practices

The $30.4 billion company's Agile approach was previously described as "crucial" in helping it to be "more responsive to the market" as well as to "scale" products. The company told The Reg that its Tech organization was "not moving away from Agile and will continue to use Agile methodologies to deliver software," adding: "this change reflects how agile processes have become part of our core engineering practices.

Among its devs' more recent product launches is a version of a popular rebooking service from Freebird, a company whose assets and staff the banking giant acquired in 2020, apparently integrated into its Travel portal for its credit card holders as "rapid rebooking." It's pretty timely.

Capital, like others in the sector, recruited heavily in recent years, with the purported job cuts apparently fewer than the 4,000 or so new roles added in the past year.

Gartner told The Register this week that enterprise tech CEOs had "got ahead of their skis" when it came to hiring. Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft have all laid off thousands of staff in the last six months, with Microsoft adding 10,000 to the cuts and Google 12,000.

But when we asked Capital One if it had over-hired, it said the "decision was made to meet the evolving skills and process enhancements needed to deliver on the next phase of our tech transformation." A spokesman added: "Capital One remains committed to recruiting top talent, including continued investments in recruiting new professional and campus hires. Our Tech organization is actively recruiting for a range of positions, including engineering roles focused on cloud, data, machine learning, and cybersecurity, as well as product managers."

We understand the affected workers will be encouraged to apply for other internal roles, and will be eligible to receive a severance package including "at least" 16 weeks of compensation.

Capital One had 55,100 employees in the quarter ended September 2022, according to company filings, which itself was up 8 percent from its 50,800 headcount in Q3 2021.

Many Reg readers will know Capital One best for the break-in in 2019, where an attacker raided Capital One's cloud storage buckets and stole personal information on 106 million credit card applicants in the US and Canada. Stolen data from people who applied for credit products included 140,000 US social security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers, as well as one million Canadian social insurance numbers, plus names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and reported incomes.

Former Amazon engineer Paige A Thompson, who also went by the handle "erratic," was collared by the FBI the same week of the attack, and was convicted in June last year of pilfering millions of folks' data from the "misconfigured" storage buckets. In October, Thompson was sentenced to time served and five years of probation with location and computer monitoring.

As for Capital One, it was fined $80 million and settled customer lawsuits to the tune of $190 million following the leak. As we noted at the time, it was "quite an expensive misconfiguration, all told."

Amazon earlier this month updated its cloud-based S3 service so that all newly added objects are encrypted by default.

Capital One, which says on its website that it is "banking on technology," closed its last datacenter "to go all-in on the public cloud" in 2020 and says it has an "open source-first approach to software development."

It says it uses "ML applications, APIs and cloud products" to prevent online credit fraud. As well as having a significant presence in auto loans, it also has a consumer banking segment – including the travel credits program – and a corporate banking segment. Its top line for Q3 2022 was up 7.7 percent to $8.8 billion with net income of $1.7 billion. ®

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